Why the Atlas?

Cancer is a major cause of death; there are thousands of different cancers; genetics has a crucial role in cancer

Cancer is the second cause of death in the developed countries

Cancer is the first cause of untimely death. Prognosis of a leukaemia depends on the genes involved: median survival of 3 months in a given leukemia versus 95% patients cured in another leukemia. It is therefore necessary to have such a knowledge at disposal if one wants to save as many patients as possible. However, about 9,000 genes are possibly implicated in cancer!

Moreover, some diseases are very frequent while others may be very rare (one published case), in particular in cytogenetic subsets of leukaemias… and there are more than 600 of those! Therefore, there is a need for huge databases collecting and summarising the fast growing knowledge accumulated in cancer genetics.

With the fast development of technics in genetics, it now emerges that many subtypes of solid tumors may exist, following the leukemia model (how many hundreds of breast cancer subtypes, defined by distinct genetic profils, to be uncovered?). This, together with cell biology developments in the Atlas demonstrates that the encyclopaedic content is potentially a basis for developing personalized medicine for cancer.

The Atlas is a peer-reviewed journal / encyclopaedia / internet database aimed at genes involved in cancer, cytogenetics and leukemias, solid tumours, and cancer-prone diseases. It also comprises educational items in genetics for students (see, for more details: What is the Atlas).

The Atlas is at the crossroads of research, university teaching and telemedicine. It helps the clinician in therapy decision.


How can the Atlas help ?

The Atlas helps the clinician in the diagnostic and in the treatment processes: the iconography of chromosome anomalies can be compared by the cytogeneticist with his findings in a given patient, guiding his diagnosis. Next step, the clinician with a cytogenetic diagnosis may be helped by the description of the associated disease. In any case, the clinician ignores the prognostic associated with the chromosome findings in many cases, and the Atlas would guide his treatment decision: a bone marrow graft may kill, it should be reserved for highly aggressive leukaemias, and that risk must not be taken when the leukaemia would be cured in any case.
The Atlas helps the researcher. First, the Atlas represents a huge database, with many items described; second, these descriptions represent real reviews on a given item, e.g. detailing the protein domains, the mode of action of a protein within the cell, the pathways involved, the mode of oncogenesis that may be implicated.


Objectifves of the project

  • Medical treatment assistance in rare forms of cancer,
  • Efficiency savings in the fight against cancer,
  • Decrease in fundamental and applied research as well as medical costs.
  • Personalised medicine for cancer (one of the axes of the cancer plan 2014-2018).

Key words

  • Pooling of knowledge concerning the biology of normal and cancerous cells,
  • Referential and investigation tool for research,
  • Multilingual pedagogical support,
  • Translational health research
  • Transfer of scientific innovation towards research itself, and, downstream, towards patient care

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